[General] In what would mark the farthest

nyggus

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Hi,

I read such a sentence in one of the news:

"SpaceX recently announced that two private citizens have paid money to be sent around the Moon in what would mark the farthest humans have ever traveled to deep space since the 1970s."​

I have two problems:

1. Could you please explain the meaning of the phrase "in what would mark the farthest"? I think I can get the message, but I am not 100% sure I can. Even if I can, I feel this fragment of the sentence is clumsy. BUT I can be wrong and the sentence can be OK. Is the phrase OK here?

2. Is the choice of tenses OK? Should it be "two private citizens had paid money to be sent..."

Thanks,
Nyggus
 

nyggus

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Thanks Robert!

"in what would mark the farthest" = "and THAT would be the farthest".

Got it. I suppose many non-natives like me will find this phrase difficult.

There are zero reasons to use the past perfect here.

Here, I'd like to ask for explanation. The sentence is a kind od indirect speech, isn't it? If so, Shouldn't we apply the rule of sequence of tenses?
 

emsr2d2

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The tense involved refers to those people going round the moon. That hasn't happened yet so it's in the future. They've paid but they haven't been to space yet.

If it happens, it would mark the furthest humans have traveled into deep space since the 1970s.
 

nyggus

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The tense involved refers to those people going round the moon. That hasn't happened yet so it's in the future. They've paid but they haven't been to space yet.

If it happens, it would mark the furthest humans have traveled into deep space since the 1970s.

Thanks. But sorry, I'm still not getting it. I will simplify the sentence to explain what I mean:

SpaceX recently announced that two private citizens have paid money to do something.​

In direct speech, the sentence would be

SpaceX recently announced, "Two private citizens have paid money to do something."​

So, shouldn't we make the sentence in indirect speech read as below?

SpaceX recently announced that two private citizens had paid money to do something.​
 

GoesStation

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You could add a bit to clarify the tense: SpaceX recently announced that it is now true that two private citizens have paid money to do something.
 

nyggus

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You could add a bit to clarify the tense: SpaceX recently announced that it is now true that two private citizens have paid money to do something.

Thanks again. But again, a next question, still about the rule of sequence of tenses. In indirect speech, shouldn't this be as follows?

SpaceX recently announced that it was then true that two private citizens had paid money to do something.

(On the one hand, the rule seems pretty straightforward; on the other hand, as you can see, it's killing me — and maybe not only me, but also my NNES brothers and sisters?)
 

jutfrank

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SpaceX recently announced that it was then true that two private citizens had paid money to do something.

This is correct grammatically but it doesn't work as a news item. By backshifting the tense, you've achieved the effect of sequencing the events, i.e., you're now emphasising that the payment occurred before the announcement. There's no reason to do this. In fact, you're now raising the possibility that it is no longer true, or no longer relevant.

News items use the present perfect to make a present relevance. That is, to say what has happened or what is true now.
 

nyggus

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News items use the present perfect to make a present relevance. That is, to say what has happened or what is true now.

Now I get it, though I must admit I didn't know the indirect speech was used differently in news items than in other scenarios. Thank you!
 

teechar

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